Tiny Art from the Lowcountry

It’s a steamy summer here in the Charleston area, and my latest art-o-mat project fits it just about right: alligators, swamps, and the devil. (For more on art-o-mat, please read “Kerplunk!” June 1, 2014)

The short story is about a little girl trying to escape an alligator who makes a deal with the devil: in return for being freed from the alligator, the girl must make clothes that the customers are forced to fit (this does not end well for most customers)  After talking to a musician friend, who was also raised in East Tennessee, I think I probably got the idea for this story from him.  But in his version, the customers are forced to act out something.  In my version, the customers have to shrink or elongate or lose limbs or get smothered depending on their garments.  Interesting difference, probably because he writes lyrics instead of drawing pictures and perhaps because I know how to sew and design garments. (There’s more on the dressmaker at “The Devil’s Dressmaker,” January 22, 2015).

dressmaker art o mat

For the art-0-mat version, which must fit a box 2 inches by 3 inches, I designed a little accordion book and added a (rather bad) poem.  I added teardrops to the story; when the little girl cries her tears run off and find the devil.  Included in the box are little teardrop ladies.  This project used up many of the plastic artificial teardrop containers that I obsessively collect.  Now they have homes in Texas, Nevada and California, the states  where I ask to have my stuff sent.

TeardropsHot weather makes me lazy.  Since finishing this mighty accomplishment, I’ve been playing around.

In June, I took a two week class on contemporary uses of traditional paper cutting, about which  I will write soon. The classwork involved a lot of experimentation, and I made another version of the dressmaker so I’ll add that image here.  The pieces are all hand cut from tyvek, my new favorite material.

dressmaker on door


Finally, since the art-o-mat project involves an artist’s book, I’ve added a bibliography of my favorite book-art books.  In early June, I did a workshop on artists’ books at the senior center in Boone NC and I handed it out there.

Artists’ Books bibliog


About Lillian-Trettin

I grew up in the Appalachian "Bible Belt" of East Tennessee in the southern United States, listening to banjo music and gospel lyrics as well as the Beatles. As a kid, I was curious about religious rituals like speaking in tongues and snake handling but resistant to the fundamentalist thinking they involved. Flannery O'Connor's tales of religious fanatics, con men, bigots, and the spiritually bereft or ambivalent resonate for me. Despite having traveled widely and lived in other places, I am (as so many Southerners claim to be) permanently "South haunted." I returned to making art full time in 2011, following a career as a teacher, researcher, and consultant and after raising two sons. I’m convinced the delay enriched rather than impeded my growth as an artist.
This entry was posted in The Other South and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Tiny Art from the Lowcountry

  1. Carl says:

    Nice update Linnie, the eyes on the mini-dolls are a big spooky, and the reading list appreciated. Looking forward to seeing how the new inspirations come together.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s